While Southeast Asia nations have been steadily easing Covid
restrictions in recent weeks, East Asia has been comparatively slower or
muted in their efforts to reopen travel.
is expected to change soon when South Korea will become the first
country in East Asia to reopen to fully vaccinated travellers. Come 21
March, the country will drop self-quarantine requirements for fully
vaccinated international travellers.
The announcement was made by the South Korean Health Ministry on
Friday, 11 March. Previously, travellers entering South Korea were
required to undergo a seven-day self-quarantine. Now, the ministry has
removed that requirement for travellers who have received two doses of
Covid-19 vaccines, at least two weeks earlier but less than 180 days
ago, including those with booster shots.
International travellers will still be subjected to rapid antigen
tests twice on their trips — on the sixth and seventh day after entering
South Korea. But otherwise, they’re free to explore the country’s
offerings as soon as they arrive on South Korea’s soil.
For reasons not specified though, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and
Myanmar are not considered in this exemption, and travellers from these
four countries will still have to observe the previous seven-day
South Korea’s exemption of its self-quarantine regulation may give
the country a head start in reviving its tourism industry compared to
its neighbouring countries in East Asia, including China, Hong Kong,
Japan, Macau, Mongolia and Taiwan, which are still relatively closed off
to international leisure travellers.